John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 11 May 2014

[Saturday 10 May 2014]

Premier Inn, Runger Lane North
06:55 Manchester Airport
11:00 Rome Fiumicino Airport
Hotel Milton Roma, Via Emanuele Filiberto 155, 00185 Rome
On arrival at the airport, please go to the appropriate check in desk.
It is recommended that you check-in two hours before departure and then proceed through immigration and passport control into the departure lounge. Here you will find bars, restaurants and shops selling everything you are likely to need whilst on holiday.
The gate number and boarding instructions are clearly displayed on television screens throughout the Terminal. Please comply with these instructions, as announcements may not be made.
The general level of security at airports has been increased in line with the Department of Transport directives. Wherever possible you should pack liquids in your hold baggage, as there are restrictions on the amount you can take in your hand luggage. All liquids, gels and pastes are limited to a maximum quantity of 100ml and must be carried in single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bags. This must be presented separately for inspection at the airport security point. All sharp implements should be packed in your suitcase. If you have any essential medication, we recommend that you pack this in your hand luggage.
On arrival at Rome Airport, you should retrieve your cases and proceed through customs. Follow signs for arrivals until you come into the main Arrivals Hall, where our tour manager will meet you. Please bear in mind that they may be travelling on the same flight, and could be the last to arrive at the meeting point. If you have advised us of your mobile number at time of booking, please ensure you have this switched on whenever possible on the departure day in case we need to contact you.
Please remain there until met.
Please note that in order to operate this tour successfully all clients may not necessarily be travelling on the same flight. This will not affect the overall content of your holiday.
The coach will then take you to the hotel where we stay for the next four nights on a bed and breakfast basis. The address of the hotel is:
Hotel Milton Roma, Via Emanuele Filiberto 155, 00185 Rome, Italy
Telephone number: 0039 06 452 3161.
The journey to your hotel will take approximately 45 minutes.

Day 131 Judges 15-17; 2 Peter 1
The alarm went off ca.3.30am. Janet hadn’t slept, except for dropping off almost at the last minute; I’d slept pretty well, except for aches in the affected areas and a bit of backache. Changed the dressings on both elbows. We were packed up, and down at reception, just in time for our booked taxi at 4.45am, and were taken to Terminal 1 for the usual £6 charge. It was cold, wet and windy outside. Check-in of hold luggage proceeded swiftly; we got through the security scan without being frisked; my carry-on bag was selected for inspection, though, but only for a sweep, presumably for illegal substances (I didn’t have to open it and show the contents, as the ones beside me did); and then we were air-side. We bought something to drink at Boots, and at W.H. Smith Janet bought magazines to read, then we proceeded to Gate 25 for the scheduled flight. I had a marathon walk from there to find a loo, so I suggested to Janet that she follow the other sign in the opposite direction; that, however, proved to be perhaps as far to go, and boarding had started before she came back. We were stop-start, stop-start for some time, fourth or fifth in a queue of aeroplanes taking off, for there was only one runway in use, and didn’t take off till 7.20am. There was an empty row in front of me, so I moved (under the pretext of wanting a “red seat”; they were alternately red and grey) into a seat there when the “Fasten seat-belts” sign went off; although we’d paid for extra leg-room, it was extra elbow-room which seemed more important to me. Did diary update using the Asus netbook. There wasn’t time to do anything else, because the announcement came that we were passing over Pisa, and shortly after that we started the descent to Rome. We arrived a little before the scheduled 11am (local time). It was pleasant after the cold, wet weather back home, and the rather cool aircraft cabin, to find it warm and sunny in Rome. We joined the fairly long but fast-advancing queue for passport control and were nodded/waved through with just a cursory glance; then we found the luggage carousel that would eventually deliver our cases (it was the ninth carousel of perhaps ten) — I say “eventually”, because our luggage seemed a long time coming. There was luggage being supplied and going past in dribs and drabs more or less constantly, but from other flights. Our grey but brightly rainbow-strapped suitcases appeared ca.11.20am; then we wandered through to the meeting point. It was a bit disconcerting when at first we had difficulty locating the Riviera rep, because she couldn’t hold up the “Riviera” sign and check people’s names off her list simultaneously. But we spotted people, gathered around, with “Riviera” tags on their luggage. There was another flight of some 25 people joining the Riviera party due in at 12.10pm, so once the rep had checked off our 25 or so she suggested we avail ourselves of the café at the end of that hall till then. By now it was ca.11.40am. There was still quite a delay when we started to gather back before the second party started to appear. I’d packed Janet’s tripod stool in my hand luggage, and made use of it. It was after 1am, and we were still missing one “Dennis Raymond Barkwell”. (I guess she couldn’t not check whether he had come among us without announcing his name.) So she went off in search, leaving her own suitcase in the care of Janet and me. That’s when I saw from a luggage tag that her name was “Lucy Ryan” with an address in “Northampton”. I was scribbling some notes in a little A7 pad. Don’t know whether it appeared that I was jotting down facts for a complaint, but one of the party said something to me about counting her in, in the complaint, and I thought at first she was joking. It was ca.1.30pm when we finally marched off following Lucy to the coach station. There was a halt at an empty bay, before she led us to where the coach was waiting (perhaps it had had to move off from where it had been). The transfer to the hotel took perhaps half an hour, once we got our luggage stowed and ourselves aboard. We came alongside a meandering river on our right, which I assumed to be the Tiber, and which we crossed at one point. As we did so, to the right, on a hill, I noticed a domed Basilica reminiscent of St. Peter’s but looking of modern construction. When we arrived at the hotel, the party of fifty, bunching on the sidewalk in Via Emanuele Filiberto and tending to block it to passers-by, took some time to filter through the entrance just round the corner in Viale Manzoni, check in, and receive keys. The line had thinned out and we only had to wait for the lift to go and come back once, before we were taken up to the second floor, where we found our small but comfortable room which looked out over Viale Manzoni. After a bit of sorting ourselves out, etc., and a change into t-shirts, we ventured out into the comfortably warm and sunny afternoon. We had a drink in the bar “Roma Lazio” on the corner across the road from the hotel. It was a bit pricey, though cheaper than if we’d gone to the hotel bar. I’d already gone down Viale Manzoni and its continuation, Via Labicana, as far as the Colosseum, so to speak, “virtually”, the other day in Google Street View, so I’d have known the way to the Colosseum even if Lucy hadn’t mentioned it earlier. I particularly wanted a close look at the Arch of Titus, which I’d only seen from afar on the previous trip, especially the depiction of the menorah taken from the Temple in Jerusalem when it was sacked in AD70. On the outward walk there, we saw a little shop just off to the right in Via Merulana, which we investigated for inexpensive bottles of soft drinks. (The drinks were too dear at the hotel.) Don’t know whether the shopkeeper believed our promise to return.

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:01:32
Looking right from Via Labicana on the way to the Colosseum

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:07:18
Ruins of the gladiator training school

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:07:18
Detail 1

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:07:18
Detail 2

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:11:24

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:19:48
Looking towards the Forum (left: Triumphal Arch of Titus)

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:19:48
Detail 1

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:19:48
Detail 2

The paving slabs from outside the Colosseum to the way to the Arch of Titus — passing the Arch of Constantine on its right — were very uneven and widely spaced, and I turned my already-tender right foot with a very painful but thankfully momentary spasm. The site of the Arch of Titus proved to be fenced off with a pay-to-enter barrier, so I was thwarted in my plan. There was to be a visit to the Forum in a day or two, so I hoped I’d get a close look at the Arch then. If not, then we’d have to come back again and pay to see it.

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:24:32
It’s a pay-to-enter site.

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:26:26
Ruins on the side of Palatine Hill

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:26:26
Detail 1

Sunday 11 May 2014 — 16:26:26
Detail 2

We headed back to the hotel — and we did stop at the shop in Via Merulana for supplies — then ca.5pm went out again seeking a recommended new restaurant just round the corner in Via Emanuele Filiberto at “123”. We found no restaurant at “123”, but there was one at “133”. It appeared to be family-run. The proprietor made us — the only customers, as this was far too early for Italian patronage — very welcome. I had a couple of beers. The mixed salad which we shared (I sprinkled olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the on-table condiments on mine, and Janet just the vinegar on hers), served with fairly dense, crusty bread (slightly on the dry side), followed by thin-sliced fried strips of beef with rocket and tomato for me and pasta, tomato, ham and Parmesan for Janet, were tasty enough, but the bill was a bit steep. Back up in the hotel room, I copied the photos from my camera to the WD Elements HDD (18:14–18:15). The file names were supposed to show the date and time the photos were taken, but I hadn’t altered the time on the camera to local time; so I added an hour to the time in each of the file-names. Advanced the time shown on my camera by one hour. Edited the photos, making cropped and resized versions of some of them (18:18–18:35). Made a PowerPoint presentation of them (18:40–19:22), then pasted them in “2014.doc” along with the captions from the PowerPoint (saved, 20:38). Janet headed for bed, and so did I, not because we had to be up especially early tomorrow but because it had been a very long day today.

[Monday 12 May 2014]

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